B-163888, APR. 12, 1968

B-163888: Apr 12, 1968

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TO LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF ALAMEDA COUNTY: WE HAVE YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 13. WHO WAS DISCHARGED IN 1954. WRIGHT WAS NOT THEN UNDER MILITARY CONTROL. THAT IT IS APPARENT FROM OUR LETTERS THAT MRS. YOU HAVE REQUESTED A REVIEW OF THE MATTER. WRIGHT'S CLAIM WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON SEPTEMBER 25. THE CLAIM WAS RETURNED TO HER BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 24. OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ENDEAVORED TO EXPLAIN TO HER THAT HER CLAIM IS BARRED BY THE 1940ACT. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE 1940 ACT WAS TO RELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NECESSITY OF RETAINING AND GOING BACK OVER OLD RECORDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SETTLING STALE CLAIMS. THE ACT IS AN ABSOLUTE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE OF ANY CLAIM WHICH IS NOT RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED.

B-163888, APR. 12, 1968

TO LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF ALAMEDA COUNTY:

WE HAVE YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 13, 1968, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN REGARD TO THE CLAIM OF MRS. MILDRED M. WRIGHT, 3010 ADELINE STREET, APT. 109, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 94608, FOR AMOUNTS ALLEGED TO BE DUE HER BECAUSE OF THE MILITARY SERVICE OF HER HUSBAND, JOHN WRIGHT, WHO WAS DISCHARGED IN 1954.

YOU SAY THAT ON AUGUST 6, 1954, MRS. WRIGHT WROTE TO THE U.S. ARMY HEADQUARTERS, ARMORED CENTER, FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY, WITH REGARD TO HER CLAIM; THAT IN A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1954, THE ARMY REPLIED THAT NO ACTION COULD BE TAKEN AT THAT TIME AS MR. WRIGHT WAS NOT THEN UNDER MILITARY CONTROL, AND THAT IT IS APPARENT FROM OUR LETTERS THAT MRS. WRIGHT'S EARLIER REQUEST, DATED AUGUST 6, 1954, HAD NOT BEEN BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION. ON THE POSSIBILITY THAT SUCH EARLIER REQUEST MIGHT CHANGE THE STATUS OF MRS. WRIGHT'S CLAIM, YOU HAVE REQUESTED A REVIEW OF THE MATTER.

MRS. WRIGHT'S CLAIM WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON SEPTEMBER 25, 1967. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, CH. 788, 54 STAT. 1061, 31 U.S.C. 71A, 237, THE CLAIM WAS RETURNED TO HER BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 24, 1967, WITH A COPY OF THE ACT, WHICH PROVIDES THAT:

"EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND * * * AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE * * * SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM, * * * SHALL BE RECEIVED IN SAID OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED * * *.' HER RIGHT, IF ANY, ACCRUED PRIOR TO HER HUSBAND'S DISCHARGE IN 1954.

IN LETTERS DATED OCTOBER 31, 1967, AND DECEMBER 23, 1967, MRS. WRIGHT AGAIN MADE CLAIM TO THIS OFFICE AND BY LETTERS DATED NOVEMBER 17, 1967, AND JANUARY 26, 1968, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ENDEAVORED TO EXPLAIN TO HER THAT HER CLAIM IS BARRED BY THE 1940ACT, THAT WE MAY MAKE NO EXCEPTIONS TO ITS PROVISIONS AND THAT THEREFORE HER CLAIM MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, CLEARLY PROHIBITS THE CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE OF ANY CLAIM NOT RECEIVED HERE WITHIN THE TIME LIMIT SPECIFIED THEREIN. THE FILING OF A CLAIM WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY OR WITH ANY OTHER DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE FILING OF A CLAIM WITH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE NOR DOES SUCH FILING STOP THE RUNNING OF THE STATUTE.

THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE 1940 ACT WAS TO RELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NECESSITY OF RETAINING AND GOING BACK OVER OLD RECORDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SETTLING STALE CLAIMS. NO MATTER HOW MERITORIOUS A CLAIM MAY BE, THIS OFFICE MAY MAKE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE NOR MAY ANY EXTENSION OF TIME BE GRANTED WITHIN WHICH CLAIMS MAY BE FILED IN THIS OFFICE.

THE ACT IS AN ABSOLUTE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE OF ANY CLAIM WHICH IS NOT RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED. MRS. WRIGHT'S CLAIM IS NO DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER CLAIM WHICH WAS FILED WITH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TOO LATE TO BE CONSIDERED AND WE TRUST THAT YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THAT CONSIDERATION THEREOF IS FORBIDDEN BY LAW.